The Four Types of Schizophrenia

People with schizophrenia may hear voices or noises; become very paranoid; believe they have unusual powers; think others control their thoughts, or vice-versa; or believe world events are connected to them

It can be a long road to diagnosis however. Patients — and families — are often in denial. After all, it’s a tough diagnosis to accept.

“We don’t label it schizophrenia right away; the diagnosis can follow a person throughout life once it’s in their chart,” says Dr. Minnie Bowers of the Cleveland Clinic.

Schizophrenia looks different from one person to the next. Here are the four main categories patients fall:

Paranoid schizophrenia: The person’s paranoia may be extreme, and they may act on it. “They may show up at the door of the FBI and ask, ‘Why are you following me?’” says Dr. Bowers. They may also behave oddly, have inappropriate emotional responses and show little pleasure in life.

Catatonic schizophrenia: The person shuts down emotionally, mentally and physically. “People appear to be paralyzed. They have no facial expression and may stand still for long periods of time,” she says. There is no drive to eat, drink or urinate. When catatonia lasts for hours, it becomes a medical emergency.

Undifferentiated schizophrenia: The person has various vague symptoms. “They may not talk or express themselves much. They can be confused and paranoid,” says Dr. Bowers. The person may not bother to change clothes or take a shower.

Schizoaffective disorder: The person has delusional thinking and other symptoms of schizophrenia. “But they also present with one or more symptoms of a mood disorder: depression, mania and/or hypomania,” says Dr. Bowers.

Source: The Cleveland Clinic

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